Only in America with Jay and the Americans

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By Patricia Ruiz, Lake Worth Campus Editor

The only thing hotter than being in Boca Raton, FL this 4th of July was being at the Jay and the Americans’s concert on the 4th at FAU, even with a new Jay heading the band.  “There’s a new Jay?” asked Melissa Brown just before the concert.  And she wasn’t the only one.  It seemed quite a few people waiting for the concert was unaware of the “new Jay”, but by the end of the concert seemed to embrace him with open arms.

Opening with “Only in America”, they had  the crowd of about 700 attendees in their palms immediately.  They then told the audience about the group’s history, beginning 52 years ago in Brooklyn, and followed it with a melodic a capella of “Wisdom of a Fool”, sounding as good as they did five decades ago.  The storytelling format of their concert gave the audience an intimate look behind the scenes, informing the audience first of the new Jay and the history of the three different Jays who had occupied the lead role.  Hearing the stories that accompanied the songs alone was worth the price of admission.

The new Jay was great, sounding a lot like his idol, Roy Orbison.  He walked off stage several times throughout the concert to allow the “Hall of Fame group members to perform”.  It was a wonderful touch the first couple of times, but became distracting after the third time.  When the Americans sang without Jay, you could hear why they are Hall of Famers, and they still have it.

They sang their hits “Only in America”, “Tonight”, “She Cried”, “Cara Mi Amor”, “Sunday” and of course “Some Enchanted Evening” , along with other songs of the time.  The thunderous applause they received at the end of the concert brought an encore of “Cara Mi Amor”.  Jay and the Americans also raffled off a signed guitar, for which 100 percent of the proceeds of the raffle went to benefit Foster Youth in Palm Beach County.  Arlene Parkin was the happy winner of the beautiful guitar, sign by all of the band members, including “JayIII”, as the new Jay’s autograph read.

The warm-up band was the Del Satins.  Their a capella version of “The Way it Goes” brought you back to Belmont Avenue.  By the third song the Del Satins had the audience members’ toes tapping and fingers snapping.  They ended with Patriotic songs befitting Independence Day and had the crowd on their feet.

Jay and the Americans are currently touring, and have eight stops before returning to Florida to perform at Mardis Gras Casino in Hallendale Beach, Fl.  For more information on upcoming concerts, go to their website